Monday, 22 August 2022

New Grenz Mould

 A couple of weeks ago I got my greasy mitts on the new Grenz mould containing the advancing figure and drummer.

I am in the middle of another project at the moment (20mm WW2 Normandy - I went there earlier this year), so it could be a while before I get around to painting up a unit. However, I was interested to see how the figures have turned out, so spent a few hours casting up enough the figures for a couple of 16 man units.

My current casting set up is in my garage/wargames room - pretty simple and easy to pack up:
  • The base board is just an offcut of kitchen unit shelving, it is fine under hot figures and small spillages, but would blister if a large lump of melted/hot metal was left in the same place for too long.
  • A 300W solder pot (a bit bigger than the one PA sell) - and PA ladle.
  • There is also a cheap digital thermometer (the thin twisted black wire on the right).
  • Moulds (usually in pairs) are normally just held by 3 elastic bands, but this one needed a bit of extra pressure in the middle to prevent flash, so there is an additional PA clamp.
  • I have a pin vice handy to push 1mm holes through the mould sides in difficult areas, in this case  it needed vents in the lower tips of both sword scabbards.
  • Pliers for getting the figures from the moulds and snips for cutting off the ingates etc.
Below are photos of the new Grenz figures 'as cast' using Model Metal, I have cut off the ingates etc. but not cleaned them up any further - the head is 'as cast' and just pushed in. (You can see the marks on the scabbards where I have drilled vents.)

They are pretty clean and should not take a lot of preparation and I think will paint up well.

I intend to make 16 man 'close order' units, with 13 advancing, the drummer plus an officer and standard bearer from the Hungarian range. I will base them on single bases so that they can also act in open order.

I have also cast up a unit using 'scrap metal', they also cast easily, detail is not as crisp, but should also paint up well.

I hope someone buys them - as I had to twist PA's arm to get them made😟.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

How much metal do I need?

Over the weekend I ran some participation games, which were re-runs of the Prague game we put on at Hammerhead back in March, but this time using the 'Field of Battle' rather than the 'A Gentleman's War' rules. Both are fun rules, however I found the FoB games ran quicker.

One of the players was considering building an army using the PA moulds, and asked how many figures can be cast from a bar of metal. I guessed a unit was about 250-500g (2-4 bars), but was not really sure - I have now looked into it in more detail..................

Prince August Metal Bars

PA's bars of Model Metal weigh 125g each, and according to their website will cast five 40mm foot figures.

Apparently the bars are sold by volume, so for interest I weighed 4 of each - Model Metal averaged 126g/bar and Casting Metal (surprisingly) a bit lighter at 121g/bar.

I also weighed a couple of my completed units (mostly scrap metal), after making allowance for the basing:

  • A 16 figure infantry unit weighs about 325g, just over 20g per figure, so 5 or 6 foot figures per bar should be about right (3 bars per unit).
  • An 8 figure dragoon unit as heavier at something like 500g, so 62.5g/figure - 2 per bar (4 bars per unit).
Looking on the PA site, there is currently (19/06/2022) little price difference between the two metals, assuming you buy 30 bars (enough for about 8-10 units), the cost per bar is:
  • Model Metal - £3.47/bar
  • Casting Metal - £3.25/bar
Model Metal generally produces much better castings, so at these prices there is little point in buying the cheaper metal (but prices are ever changing).

At the time of writing Model Metal is about £28/kilo (plus postage), so about £0.55 for infantry and £1.75 per cavalry; clearly if you can substitute/recycle  'free' scrap lead you can both save money and feel smug!

Scrap Lead

As I have said many times, the bulk of my figures are cast from scrap metal, although I do use Model Metal for fine detail such as heads, and Casting Metal when I run out of scrap.

For reference I weighed some bags of Old Glory ECW figures, these are small 28mm, both the foot (30 figures) and cavalry (10 figures) weight in around the 420g mark - about enough for a semi-flat unit. (I'm not suggesting you melt down new figures - it is just to give an idea of comparative weights.)

Anybody who knows someone who home casts, please don't throw away old figures, metal sprues etc. save them and get them recycled,

Printer's Metal

PA are currently selling old printer's metal at £15.83/1.9kg, so £8.50/kilo - less than the 1/3 price of Model Metal - has anyone tried it? 

If you can add any useful information please share it in the comments section.